Guthrie makes his pitch for conservation
Fittingly, right-hander will make start Sunday on Earth Day
DENVER -- Rockies right-hander Jeremy Guthrie made just one Spring Training start away from the team's complex in Scottsdale, Ariz. It just so happened the game was against the Giants, who also play in Scottsdale.So Guthrie used his preferred mode of transportation. "I only made one road start, so I was 1-for-1 riding my bike," Guthrie said. Guthrie has not been shy about using his visibility to promote conservation and protecting the environment. It's a fitting coincidence that Guthrie's next start will be at Milwaukee on Sunday -- Earth Day 2012. Guthrie started a stadium-wide recycling program when he played in Baltimore, after noticing that the many drink bottles the players used were merely thrown away. This year, he is the face of the Rockies Games of Green Initiative, under which elementary, middle school and high school students design a project to help the environment, and Guthrie will host a lunch with the classes determined as winners. For Guthrie, it's more than just lending his name to something to make himself look cool. For years, he has ridden his bike to the stadium for work. Like in the case of the Orioles, he'll question wasteful practices on his club. Guthrie also is not shy about calling attention to the environment on social media, as evidenced by him proudly relaying the following dispatch from Live Earth -- which uses entertainment and the media to call attention to environmental issues -- on Twitter on World Water Day 2012: The water in my toilet is cleaner than nearly a billion have to drink. Let's change this Guthrie, 33, grew up in Roseburg, Ore., where Earth Day and paying attention to wastefulness was practiced before it was cool. "I was raised in a way that my parents taught me to be grateful for what I have, and a byproduct of that is to not be wasteful," Guthrie said. "As you get older and learn, we live on a pretty nice planet here, and taking care of it as best we can and being grateful for what we have and trying to preserve it is a good way to live, not only for ourselves but also for those who come after us. "I believe the facts show there's a limited amount of resources on this earth. The more that we can serve and reuse them, the better we make it for those coming after us." Guthrie acknowledged that standing up for the environment has become trendy, and he is happy about that. But as has been the case with many other issues in American life, it has become politicized. He handles any criticism by just falling back on common sense. "If you talk about the movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," and say it's all bunk and it's not like that, my response is, 'What do we have to lose by conserving, using less energy, trying to be more efficient with cars?'" Guthrie said. "What do we have to lose? If they're right, we're helping and if they're wrong, we can't be hurting by doing those things." "I've probably been looked at and criticized for a lot of stuff, that included. But when you do something you're passionate about and really feel is beneficial, you really don't pay attention or let it bother you. Any attention is good attention for the things that are important, and I think that's very important." When it comes to raising consciousness in his workplace, Guthrie said he has a ways to go to. As he spoke, he held a water bottle, knowing that it takes fewer resources and creates less waste to fill his own container and reuse it. "Players are getting more conscious of it, but by nature baseball players are a little bit less concerned about being wasteful, because they appreciate more the convenience of what's being provided to them," Guthrie said. "We can do a lot better in terms of being wasteful, like using tons of bottles. "It's cool that some guys use big jugs. It's more for the type of water they're drinking. There's an alkaline water machine and they fill it up there. But it saves a lot, for sure. I'd just as soon see a bunch of coolers in the clubhouse. But it's a different culture." Guthrie said people who don't spend their days in a baseball clubhouse have plenty of opportunities to conserve and protect. "I remember being taught in elementary school to turn off the faucet when we're brushing our teeth or turn off the faucet when we're running in the kitchen," Guthrie said. "Recycling is obviously a big thing now, but the thing I always tell kids is ride a bike, enjoy the outdoors, don't always rely on your parents or a car to get you from point A to point B. "When we grew up, if I found myself at home with my friends after school, if we wanted to go somewhere we got on the bike and road there. We didn't always call our parents and make them come home and get us or play games until they got back. We jumped on our bikes and we'd ride 15 miles if we wanted to go to the shoe store or ride 8 miles if we wanted to go to the baseball card shop."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.